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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia's Reserves Slide to $12Bln

Russia's gold and foreign currency reserves fell to $12 billion on Dec. 11, down from $12.1 billion the week before, the Central Bank said Thursday, Interfax reported.

Total Central Bank reserves remain higher than the $12.5 billion held at the beginning of November, but have fallen some 30 percent since January.

The drop comes as the Central Bank struggles to preserve its reserves while paying foreign debts and defending the ruble.

Before the Asian financial crisis erupted in October 1997, the Central Bank had reserves of almost $25 billion, but almost half of it was lost supporting the currency.

Reserves will fall another $352 million this month as three Eurobond coupons fall due. On Dec. 2, Russia paid $216 million to the London Club, and more International Monetary Fund and Paris Club debt must be met.

The ruble, meanwhile, continued its slide Thursday, and the Central Bank set the Friday exchange rate at 20.70 rubles to the U.S. dollar, a drop of 8 kopeks.